Friday, March 04, 2005

Trinidad's Breakfast Shed

Urban development is great once its managed properly. In Trinidad, one can only hope.

UdeCott is going to demolish the Breakfast Shed for room to build the POS waterfront expansion project. The Breakfast shed stall tenants were offered TT 93,000.00 in lieu of relocation. A lawyer was hired and they are now asking for TT 1.4M each. Rumours are flying that demolition is due to start tomorrow. (This is Trinidad , after all.) The radio stations have gotten involved and its true Trini bacchanal at Wrightson Road.

The first mention I know of is back in primary school, we learnt that for Audrey Jeffers and the Coterie of Social Workers, May 26, 1926 was a particularly unfortunate year, for the group embarked on its plan to provide hungry school children with a mid-day meal. The first venue for this venture was constructed at Warner Street, New Town, a short distance away from the Jeffers' home. For some reason the building was called a 'breakfast shed' despite the fact that it was to provide lunch.

This 'breakfast shed' immediately became popular with the school children of the surrounding New Town and Woodbrook districts. Not long afterwards came the main Breakfast Centre on Edward Street which supplied other venues. Nevertheless, it became a popular sport for the children of the city who flocked there for perhaps their major meal of the day. In this time of abject poverty, when many of the nation's school children went without the benefit of a mid-day meal, the school kids of Port of Spain were not so deprived. Our internationally known Breakfast Shed is derived from or commemorates these beginnings.

A nurse once mentioned that the meals there are "the highest-cholesterol, highest-sodium, most delicious food you can get."

More than providing indirect income for about 200 Trinidadians, the Breakfast Shed is a cultural institution worthy of respect. If you want local cuisine, that's the place to go to. I hope UdeCott does the right ting. I want to drive up there tomorrow and take some pictures. Keep you posted.


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